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‘The Boston Police Department simply cannot be trusted to police itself’: Reaction is swift after police sexual abuse report

Patrick M. Rose testified in court in 2016.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/file

Local leaders over the weekend questioned decisions by Boston police leadership that allowed former police union president Patrick Rose to remain on the force for more than two decades after a criminal complaint accused Rose of sexual assault on a 12-year-old.

A Globe investigation published online Saturday evening found that, even after an internal investigation determined that Rose had likely committed a crime in the 1995 incident, the former patrolman and president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association was allowed to have contact with children.

Rose was arrested last summer on multiple counts of indecent assault on a child under 14. Since then, five more victims have come forward. Rose is currently jailed facing 33 counts of sexual abuse of six victims from age 7 to 16 in Suffolk Superior Court. While the 1995 criminal complaint was dropped, prosecutors now say the boy recanted his story under pressure from Rose.

Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell called for an external investigation into the Boston Police Department’s treatment of Rose. She also said the department must release records from Rose’s internal investigation file, something the administration under former mayor Martin J. Walsh refused to do, according to the Globe report.


“The Boston Police Department simply cannot be trusted to police itself,” Campbell wrote in a statement. “For more than twenty years, the BPD protected an alleged child molester, allowing him to continue to serve in their ranks and even engage with children. They have proven time-and-again that they will protect their own at all costs.”

Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research and cofounder of The Emancipator, a new media platform launching later this year in collaboration with the Boston Globe’s opinion section, questioned whether Rose had a quid pro quo relationship with fellow officers.


“Did Rose protect cops as union president so they’d protect him?” he wrote.

David Halbert, a candidate for the Boston City Council, said systemic failures among the leadership at the department and City Hall helped allow Rose to keep his position.

“Every Bostonian, none more so than the victims deserves a comprehensive, independent and transparent investigation of this case and how it was hidden from the public for so long,” he said. “A tragedy like this should never happen.”

Boston officials were not alone in posting about the Rose allegations. Julian Castro, a politician from San Antonio, Texas, and US secretary of housing and urban development under former president Barack Obama, expressed his dismay in a post on Saturday evening.

“They kept it hidden from the public, and even chose him later as union president,” Castro wrote of Rose. “Six more children came forward to accuse him in August.”